Legislation

The Alameda County, California sheriff’s office has been forced to suspend the purchase of a surveillance drone after constitutionalists and activists slammed the agency with concerns that the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle would violate privacy protections.

The sheriff’s office had asked the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to approve a $31,646 grant to purchase a drone. The money was part of a $1.2-million grant handed out by the California Emergency Management Agency.

Soon, thousands of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) unmanned aerial vehicle license holders will launch their drones into the skies over the United States.  Despite the delay of lawmakers to establish constitutionally sound guidelines for the use of these eyes in the sky, a handful of congressmen are pushing to move forward the date of deployment.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has before it a bill that proponents hope will not only increase protection of personal privacy, but will also bring some order and consistency to a conflicting patchwork of laws and judicial decisions about the government's reach into personal data stored in electronic records.

The Transportation Security Administration is under heavy fire after publicly exposing the breasts of a teenage girl during its controversial “screening” procedures. Of course, passengers routinely complain of TSA abuse and molestation — some 17,000 formal complaints have been lodged against the widely ridiculed and despised unconstitutional Homeland Security agency just since 2009.

The average American is more likely to die in his bathtub than be killed by an Islamic terrorist. That is but one of many fascinating statistics presented by Charles Kenny (no relations to this writer) in his article on Businessweek.com,"Airport Security Is Making Americans Less Safe."

A newsecretive effort by the Department of Homeland Security entitled the Buffer Zone Protection Program will combine the department with local law enforcement agencies to keep citizens under constant surveillance.

Department of Homeland Security seeks funds to purchase 14 new Predator drones.

The dizzying speed of the growth of the surveillance state and the increasing sophistication of the tools used to build it are paid for in large measure by funds doled out by the Army’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Maryland Transit Administration has installed microphones in 10 buses to record passenger conversations. The microphones -- which the city plans to install in 330 more buses by next summer — are attached to the existing video surveillance system monitoring the city’s public transportation.

Seems that our coverage of the ever-widening and increasingly sophisticated web of surveillance being spun by state and federal agencies is only scratching the surface — literally.

Recently stories have been published regarding a subtler weapon being developed and deployed by private citizens determined to defend themselves from the government and its widening war against our constitutionally protected civil liberties: small wearable computers.

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